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Atenism and the Afterlife
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VBadJuJu
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
as defining characteristics of Akhenaten, how about determined and original?


I think you could have an awesome career in political media relations (spin miester). Wink

I can buy original to some extent, but determined? He didnt do anything spectacular (or otherwise) to promote or spread the word about this new "divine" order.

I'll stick with 'underachiever craving approval (esp paternal), possibly a small wee-wee and a sizable ego, always needing to be the center of attention'..Laughing [/b]
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 1:21 am    Post subject: Re: Atenism and the Afterlife Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
ImageOfAten wrote:
ImageOfAten wrote:
I have heard people claim many times that Atenism had absolutely nothing to offer on the concept of death and afterlife however, I have read many different writings concerning the subject which were found inside tombs of the Amarna period that all point to the same general idea. Here is one for example:

"May thou breathe the sweet breeze of the north wind and go forth into the sky on the arms of the living Aten, your limbs protected and your heart content. No evil can affect your limbs, you remain whole and your body will never putrefy as you follow the Aten as he rises at daybreak."



This is the writing from the sarcophagus of Akhenaten (similar to the one above):

"I breathe the sweet breath that comes forth from Thy mouth;
I behold Thy beauty every day.
It is my desire that I may hear Thy sweet voice,
even in the North wind, that my limbs may be rejuvenated with life,
through love of Thee.
Give me Thy hands holding Thy spirit,
that I may receive it and live by it.
Call Thou upon my name unto eternity, and it shall never fail"

The beautiful Prince, the Chosen-one of the Sun, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Living in Truth, Lord of the Two Lands, Akhenaten, the beautiful Child of the living Aten, whose name shall live for ever and ever


Here is another translation of the first writing I mentioned:

"Breathe the sweet breeze of the North wind which comes forth from the sky upon the hand of the living Aten. Your body is protected, your heart is glad. No harm shall happen to your body because you are sand. Your flesh will not decay. You will follow the Aten from the time when he appears in the morning until he sets in life."

-- Translation by Martin, G.T.



....And yet another (from KV55)....

"I breathe the sweet breath which comes forth from your mouth and shall behold your beauty daily.
My prayer is that I may hear your sweet voices of the North wind, that my flesh may grow young with life through your love, that you may give me your hands bearing your spirit and I receive it and live by it, and you may call upon my name eternally, and it shall not fail."

--Translated by Gardiner, A.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VBadJuJu wrote:
ImageOfAten wrote:
as defining characteristics of Akhenaten, how about determined and original?


I think you could have an awesome career in political media relations (spin miester). Wink

I can buy original to some extent, but determined? He didnt do anything spectacular (or otherwise) to promote or spread the word about this new "divine" order.

I'll stick with 'underachiever craving approval (esp paternal), possibly a small wee-wee and a sizable ego, always needing to be the center of attention'..Laughing [/b]


I just have a skill of seeing finding positive qualities on issues that I feel supportive of. Akhenaten was determined, consider how fast he had his regal city built, also his philosophies were incorporated into works of art as far as the eye could see (as if advertising the new religious system)
If that is not determination I do not know what is! What a wonderful time and place it would have been to be a part of. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
If that is not determination I do not know what is!


Its not like he had to overcome some obstacle to do so. As a despot, he said lets build a city and the dutiful citizens snapped to it.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He did have to travel a long way to find the "right" spot to build upon!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
I just have a skill of seeing finding positive qualities on issues that I feel supportive of. Akhenaten was determined, consider how fast he had his regal city built, also his philosophies were incorporated into works of art as far as the eye could see (as if advertising the new religious system)
If that is not determination I do not know what is! What a wonderful time and place it would have been to be a part of. Very Happy


Wow, dude, I applaud you! Very Happy Now this I have to jump in and say a few things.

I agree with you about Akhenaten being determined, but don't forget how passionate he was. This is how I see him: he was not meant to be pharaoh, yet he became king because his brother died. It was a major fluke, but had that not happened, not only would Egyptian history be completely reversed, but it would be less interesting. Wink

Akhenaten wanted the same respect--I'd think so Shocked --as his father recieved. He wanted to be remembered, to be great...to be loved. I think he started his "Religious Revolution" because he really thought that he was doing something right, picking up something his father left off. Except more dramatically and radically. Remember: he was a living person, a human being like us, after all, who walked, talked, thought, dreamed, breathed, sighed, cried, laughed, suffered, and felt all and any emotions despite how different he looked and acted, and despite the fact that he has been long dead. He did have feelings, and when everyone turned against him, how do you think he felt? He was a peace-loving king, and really believed that all living creatures were one under the loving Aten. He must've felt saddened when no one would listen, when everyone gave him a passing glare, because he swept away all the old Gods. He loved his family, and did not believe in violence. He wanted to make a perfect utopia in Akhetaten, where everyone would be loved...he would be loved.

But instead, he died because some people didn't like his "Creative imagination". He was struck off the king's list, and only referred to as a criminal. And if his body was indeed burned, he has nothing to go into the afterlife with. He's just a ghost of a memory now. We appreciate him today because of the fact that he's so different from other kings, and that he was a visionary tragically too early for his time. But...how did he feel back then, hoping his dream of peace would be a reality, but somehow knew it would be short-lived.

I appreciate him for trying, for wanting respect, and today...I think...I hope...he got it.

There goes my pro-Akhenaten speech, ladies and gents. Good night. Cool (And I don't think Akhenaten would have liked to be called "ugly" and "monstrous"...don't you agree? Laughing ).

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: Atenism and the Afterlife Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
You will follow the Aten from the time when he appears in the morning until he sets in life."


...with no mention of what happens in the dark hours symbolic of the afterlife.

"The Aten religion had banished from the repertoire of funerary objects all reference to the elaborate Osirian ritual and proayers, and replaces all the scenes in which the tomb-owner officiates by others in whuch the chief actors are the King and Queen with members of their family. In such representations as 'The investiture from the Palace Balcony', 'The Royal Family Worshipping the Aten', 'The Visit to the Temple', 'The Royal Family at Table' or 'The Reception of Tribute'' the figure of the tomb-owner has been relegated to a very minor position and size and may be entirely excluded. This is in conformity with the Atenist doctrines which had displaced the gods of burial in favour of Akhenaten as the patron of the dead as well as the living." (emphasis mine) - Aldred, 1968 p 236

It would seem that being the center of attention in this world was not enough and Akhenaten needed to be the focal point in the next one as well.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you on everything you just said! Akhenaten was probably the most passionate person to ever live. Yes he wanted to be respected like his father and the other great kings of the past and he did deserve that respect possibly even more. If he really did look the way he portrayed himself in art work(which does not appear abnormal to me), that should not ever be held against him in the past, present, or future. His creative imagination was a wonder of the world in itself. How long before another like that exists? I too hope he finally gets the respect he deserves.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maahes wrote:
Quote:
Might want to keep in mind that a major disease outbreak was raging through the region. atenville may have been a refuge of clean air and one relatively free of rubbish heaps. - If plague finally reached amarna the king may have been ultimately blamed for disturbing maat.


A good point. I've heard Egyptologists stress that if the land were in drought and the crops were failing, or as in your example the people were dying from plague, Pharaoh stood a good chance of being blamed. His power on the throne could be jeapordized by some natural phenomenon or disease over which he had no control, but the people of his time would not see it that way. As the keeper of maat, Pharaoh was seen as responsible not just for maintaining civil order but for preserving cosmic order as well. Talk about heavy responsibility!

ImageOfAten wrote:
Quote:
Yes we should be trying to see through the eyes of the actual ancient Egyptians but there were probably some (even if it was a very small number) who honestly believed in the new religion and supported it so we should be trying to see it from their point of view too. It is something you have too look at from all possible angles. Even though Our opinions do not matter, most of us will favor the traditional religion or the new religion and there is nothing wrong with that. That is why we are here so we can discuss the evidence, our views, and anything else that might pop-up. That is why this is such an enjoyable forum!


Very nicely put, ImageOfAten. And in that sense you put me in my place. There indeed must have been more than just a few who truly believed in Atenism, and the death of Akhenaten, the crumbling of Atenism, and the abandonment of Akhetaten must have been devasting to them. We should not marginalize them. We should indeed try to see it from their perspective, too. In framing my argument I generally try to see things from the view of the majority--or the "mob," as a Roman senator might say--because they define what a society is at any given time, but not everyone sees things from their perspective. And in that light Akhenaten was just such a person. Yes, I'm hard on him, but I still love to study him and his time for the fascination he left to us. There is nothing wrong with one's opinion (an opinion can't be "wrong" because it's too subjective by nature) and everyone has a right to express it. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ImageOfAten wrote:
I agree with you on everything you just said! Akhenaten was probably the most passionate person to ever live. Yes he wanted to be respected like his father and the other great kings of the past and he did deserve that respect possibly even more. If he really did look the way he portrayed himself in art work(which does not appear abnormal to me), that should not ever be held against him in the past, present, or future. His creative imagination was a wonder of the world in itself. How long before another like that exists? I too hope he finally gets the respect he deserves.


It's great....the more people I see who are part of a "Pro-Akkhie" group such as myself, the more I think he is appreciated in some small way, and the more we find out about the Amarna period in general, the better the chance of all these mysteries can finally come out into the light. ^__^ And I'm 100% with you on the fact that who else like him can come along with such integrity and vision? We need not look at all the negatives about him, and I'm also glad Kmt-buddy brought up that also the people who did beleive in his new religion, and you ImageofAten said it best...what about thier stories? What about how they thought and felt? Especially when Akhenaten died, and the city fell? Of course, devestated, but beyond that, don't you guys think they felt...empty? Hopeless? Thier leader is gone, thier religion is gone, and everyone else that opposed this went on as if nothing had happened, that there was no "Heretic" king. I'd think the followers would feel a sense of loss and emptiness, right?

Thanks for pointing all this out, ImageofAten and Kmt-buddy. If we can see the more positive side of Akhenaten, and put ourselves in other people's shoes, I'd think we'd see a better picture of life, feelings, and people as a whole during this period. We can understand how people on both sides of the issue felt, and especially, how Akhenaten and his family felt as well. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...I tend to also think of Akhenaten as the Einstein and Rumi of his day.
He lacked the physical charisma of some of his predecessors and we don't see much of him performing super human feats of courage outside of unambiguous patrimonial obligation. I tend to think of Akhenaten and his enablers as part astronomer/mystics and part spiritual celebrity and certainly wonder if it were Akhenaten that first stumbled upon the camera obscura.
I tend to look at what Akhenaten seemed to be attempting to say with no little skepticism as so many have built up and destroyed Akhenaten so succinctly already. Since I never made the gentleman's aquaintenence Im as out of the loop as anyone else. But What IF Akhenaten were unusually gifted as naturalistic philosopher? The limitiations of historical record to fully or even adequately describe his role or contribution- these are limitied by the comprhension of those responsible for making record- through art or other forms of documentation.
Study up on the camera obscura and get back to me..
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Alhazen Abu Ali al-Hasan Ibn Al-Haitham (also: Ibn al Haythen), (965-1040), was an Iranian-Arab mathematician; he is sometimes called al-Basri, after his birthplace.


Life

Alhazen was born at Basra, then part of Buwayhid Persia, now part of Iraq , and probably died in Cairo, Egypt.

One account of his career has him summoned to Egypt by the mercurial caliph Hakim to regulate the flooding of the Nile. After his field work made him aware of the impracticality of this scheme, and fearing the caliph's anger, he feigned madness. He was kept under house arrest until Hakim's death in 1021. During this time he wrote scores of important mathematical treatises.


Works

Alhazen was a pioneer in optics, engineering and astronomy. According to Giambattista della Porta, Alhazen was the first to explain the apparent increase in the size of the moon and sun when near the horizon, although Roger Bacon gives the credit of this discovery to Ptolemy. Alhazen also taught that vision does not result from the emission of rays from the eye, and wrote on the refraction of light, especially on atmospheric refraction, for example, the cause of morning and evening twilight. He solved the problem of finding the point on a convex mirror at which a ray coming from one point is reflected to another point.

Alhazen's extensive writings influenced many Western intellectuals such as Roger Bacon, John Pecham, Witelo, and Johannes Kepler.
[edit]

Optics

His seven volume treatise on optics Kitab al-Manazir (Optics) (written from 1015 to 1021) is possibly the earliest work to use the scientific method. The ancient Greeks believed that truth was determined by the logic and beauty of reasoning; experiment was used as a demonstration. Alhazen used the results of experiments to test theories. The "emission" theory of light had been supported by Euclid and Ptolemy. This theory postulated that sight worked by the eye emitting light. The second or "intromission" theory, supported by Aristotle had light entering the eye. Alhazen performed experiments to determine that the "intromission" theory was scientifically correct.

Optics was translated into Latin by Witelo in 1270. It was published by Friedrich Risner in 1572, with the title Oticae thesaurus Alhazeni libri VII., cum ejusdem libro de crepusculis et nubium ascensionibus. This work enjoyed a great reputation during the Middle Ages. Works by Alhazen on geometrical subjects were discovered in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris in 1834 by E. A. Sedillot. Other manuscripts are preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford and in the library of Leiden.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really feel for the minority who did follow Akhenaten and his beliefs. They were practically all on their own. After Akhenaten died his followers probably had no idea what to do, if they went back to the old beliefs that would be going against the Amarna beliefs, but if they remained in Amarna life at this point did not look to promising either as the population slowly dwindled until the point the city was desserted. That must have been a scary realization! Most of all I feel for Akhenaten the PERSON, people sometimes tend to forget that he too is human. He dedicated his whole life trying to help people see and become part of his dream of a possible better humanity and general. Instead of honoring him they cast him out as the "enemy" and after his death condemned his name. From what I gather he wanted to do good, he never harmed anyone. To realize that the very group of people you try to help actually dislike you and turn against you, that is a very devestating blow to one's inner person. Maybe now he is finally accepted as a person and a great leader but it is a shame it took a few thousand years to come. Too bad it couldn't happen during his lifetime so he had the chance to see it.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Confused I have to admit that althogh i admire akhenaten for his courage for coming forward and creating this 'reveloutionary' religion which no-one had ever done before personallly i don't think he was necassarily a good ruler he seems to have been a bad/lazy politician and had no real interests in anything but his new religion, maybe he wouldnt have been so badly thought of after he died if he had kept egypt more stable.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so I take it no one is considering the slightly mad scientist thread?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
so I take it no one is considering the slightly mad scientist thread?


What I take from this personally is that Alhazen and Akhenaten shared something in common: they were both men perhaps ahead of their time. Alhazen, on the other hand, was fairly typical of his people and his time: the Arabs were a far advanced people scientifically in a time when Europe was still mired in the filfth of the Dark Ages.

I like your description of Akhenaten as a mystic. I think that's very accurate. Akhenaten can certainly be seen as a man ahead of his time, if only religiously. But there are two things to consider:

1. There was nothing "wrong" with the nature of religion in ancient Egypt up to Akhenaten's time. It would be unfair for us modern folks to inject our sense of right and wrong into a people from the ancient past, because their religion served its purposes from the level of the individual all the way to the state. And that's where Akhenaten ran into trouble: as others have said, he was tinkering with something that did not need to be fixed.

2. As ruler Akhenaten tredded into the sphere of tyranny in his attempts to establish what we call Atenism. Closing the Temple of Amun was the most obvious sign of this, but there was the fact that he required his people to worship him in order to gain benefit from the Aten. This is tyranny mixed with megalomania--the latter probably not even a word in ancient Egypt because this was the norm for the royals, and Akhenaten was not alone (Ramesses II was almost as much a megalomaniac, and some might say more so).

So the brilliant Alhazen used the power of his formidable mind to help mankind to advance its understanding of its world and cosmos. Akhenaten used the power of the throne to advance his socio-political agenda, for what he saw no doubt as good and beneficial purposes--but in a time when the majority of his people were not ready for such massive adaptations, and in a time when they saw no need to change the status quo.
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